SIM swap fraud or SIM card hijack involves the use of social engineering techniques to take control of your SIM card.
How SIM Swap Fraud Works
These are some steps that can lead to a fraudulent SIM swap:
- The fraudster obtains victims personal data through phishing, social media searches, malicious apps, online shopping, malwares, data breaches etc.
- Using this information, the fraudster can swap the victim’s mobile number to a new SIM.
- Once the fraudster swaps the SIM, identity theft becomes relatively easy because the number is usually connected to bank, email and social media accounts.
- Fraudsters with this SIM could then log into these accounts to initiate and intercept confirmation codes texted to your device.
- Once inside, the fraudster can access and drain the subscriber’s bank accounts, purchase airtime, take loans, and access email contacts to scam friends and family.
- The subscriber will notice that they have lost service on the mobile phone and eventually discover they cannot login to their bank accounts or social media accounts.
Signs of SIM Swap Fraud
If you notice any of these warning signs, you should contact your telecoms operator immediately if:
- You lose service on your device or you cannot receive calls or texts when reception is clearly present
- You are suddenly locked out of your phone’s online account— A SIM swap may be the cause.
- You begin to receive floods of calls and messages. This tactic runs parallel to the extended loss of signal. Fraudsters will send a flurry of nuisance calls and/or messages to get victims to turn their phone off.
How to protect yourself from SIM Swap attack
Take these precautions to avoid falling victim to SIM swap fraud:
- Never disclose banking or other online passwords or personal identification numbers (PIN) to anyone, including individuals claiming to represent MTN or your bank e.g. BVN, ATM PIN.
- Keep your device software updated, including your browser, antivirus and operating system.
- Limit the personal information you share online.
- Do not reply to calls, emails, or text messages that request personal information.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication on social media accounts.
- Frequently check your financial statements.
- Never open suspicious links or attachments received by email or text message.
- Use a separate email address for your online banking account and financial transactions from your social media accounts.
- Update your passwords regularly.
- Use strong passwords and security questions.
- Do not keep passwords or personally identifiable information in your email inbox.
- Set up your own PIN to restrict access to the SIM card.
- Do not share this PIN with anyone. Use a unique number that cannot be easily determined (that means do not use your Date of Birth, your anniversary, etc.).
How to report a fraudulent SIM swap to MTN
Report cases of fraudulent SIM swap to MTN using the following channels:
|Call||From an MTN line: 180
From other networks: 08031000180
From outside the country: +2348031000180
|MTN Store||Visit any MTN Service Centre closest